Ripped


In March 0f 2015, I was ripped from the clutch of Manhattan. I didn't have the will to stay and be a broke artist. I could not physically, mentally, or spiritually stay in this claustrophobic, car pollution concentrated city anymore. I was poor, in a long distance relationship, my lease was up. On top of it all, my roommate turned into a demon.


I had to get creative fast.



Do I stay in New York?


All the money I had went towards rent, and the meager amount left went to tithing, $2 pizza slices, and the subway which ate my last $30. Boy, was that a moment of reckoning. Between locations, I had a gang of odd jobs as a photo assistant and errand runner to a demanding Jewish event planner. None of it made me happy. At this point, I was just trying to survive.


I had a great apartment location, but the actual apartment was God-awful. I say God awful with the greatest reverence because it was admonishable in the sight of God. I lived with a stinky Somalian with no pride for cleanliness. He'd run miles, throw his dirty shoes in the entry and stink up our whole apartment. My best friend Amanda and I shared a bedroom, we shared a bed! It worked because we'd known each other since birth, but the compromise of space was a challenge. I had to ask:


Is it worth it?

Do I get married?


My boyfriend and I dated long distance and I was ready to call it off. In October, he made the decision not to go on a mission and had been steering our conversations in the direction of marriage since. Calling him became a daunting task. I couldn't have a sentimental conversation over the phone in front of people, so I'd go outside in the freezing cold to have a conversation in front of thousands of people. My logic was slipping and the constant motion of people was agitating. With frostbitten fingers and a hot phone radiating my brain, I had to ask: Is this even worth it?

Do I go home? Again?!

God, no.


My parents will think I'm a failure… Again!

I counted! I've moved out and come home 11 times. I didn't want to go home, but home is where I had the most resources. I was hungry for a home cooked meal and I could use the company of family. I wouldn't have to be there long. Just long enough to get footing, and make a solid choice for the rest of my life.


What was I doing?


Posting cool photos to Instagram and Facebook? Please, ho, set your goals higher. You have dreams of becoming a filmmaker! What are you doing to achieve those dreams? You've haven't worked on your script for weeks! Yeah, Manhattan's a dream, but you have more than one dream to achieve.

This was a moment of revelation:


Where am I going? What am I doing? What will it cost?

What was I doing here and what did I want to be doing?

I could be like the women in Sex and the City. Career driven and successful. I'd break-up with my boyfriend and put my whole heart and soul into my work. After watching the first episode, I realized that I did not want this life.

I could get married and move to California.


I could go home. I'd been home several times before and this time actually sounded like a good idea. I could use a good, home cooked meal from my mother, and if I told her, surely, she'd understand.


I was looking on Craigslist for jobs every day, but even that stopped making sense. I knew I qualified for the deposit. We left the home 100% better than we found it, and having the deposit would help tremendously, but would my roommate give it back a few days early? I asked him and he said that'd be no problem. Then, he never did it. Each day I asked, each day got worse. After asking the 3rd time, he FREAKED out. "You b*tch." "You peasant!" He had a manic attack and regurgitated every derogatory slur he could think. All while standing there, listening to him,I said, "thanks, but I'm gonna need that deposit."


We had another roommate that was never there. He was the demon roommate's best friend so I called and let him know what happened. He told me the reason he didn't live there was because our roommate had a similar freakout with him and it scared him.


I had to humble my spirits.

©Val Douroux 2022